Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Back in Abu Dhabi

Today is the first day since May 15th that I have felt human and like myself. I have suffered jet lag as never before on this trip home. I usually get back on schedule within a few days. Not this time!!!! I slept through the night last night for the first time since we got home. Hallelujah! And so did John.

We spent a great month back in the USA at our little house in Georgia visiting with family and friends and contemplating our life's next adventure---RETIREMENT! Yes, John has officially retired from the Air Force and we begin yet again another phase of our life.

Boy has it been an emotional rollercoaster---beginning with the agonizing wait for our next assignment. The announcement for the Colonel assignments was postponed twice. We really were not worried so much about it as we found out that John had been by-named by a Four Star General in the USAFE Command (United States Europe). We felt certain John would get the assignment we so longed to get---another position in Europe. He was the no. 1 select for a job at Kalkar Germany, which is located right at the German, Netherlands, French border. We couldn't have asked for anything better. However, things were not to be! Another Four Star General at the Pacific Command decided he wanted John more and pulled him to Osan, Korea!!!!! To say we were in shock at the assignment is an understatement. It was truly an honor to be asked to serve as a Vice-Commander in Osan and a prestigious job. However, we just didn't feel the time was right in our life to make such a sacrifice on the heels of spending two years in the Middle East. So, the choice was made----retire after 26 years!

So far, the job hunt has been a bit of a bumpy ride. Not bad but a little bumpy. First is the realization that you are going to be unemployed in a few months. PANIC!!!! Then, after that adjustment, you start to think about what you want to do with your life. John and I are not ones who had the "golden plan." We truly thought we were at least four years away from this decision and fully expecting it to end with the assignment of our dreams. So, unprepared is exactly what we have been.

Fortunately, John has already been made a solid job offer right here in the UAE. Yesterday, he turned down this job due to the compensation package. In order for us to make the commitment to stay in the Middle East, the total package has to be just right. We just couldn't get there on this offer. No worries---we have other possibilities in the hopper. He has one more good offer in the UAE that is now under consideration. Still in the proposal stage and seeing if John is the right fit. Other things have come our way as well. He has applied for three different positions at the Pacific Command in Hawaii. I KNOW---back to Hawaii AGAIN!!!! What a thought but not a terrible one. The only drawback for me is that it is so far from my beloved Europe and visits would be few and far between. Easier to get back home to Georgia though! He has also applied for a position with the National Defense University in Norfolk, Virginia.

And the search goes on........searching through job web sites.....making contacts with pilot buddies...and people in the know......talking to contractors at Central Command and ACC.....talking to SIM instructors friends in Europe.....(wouldn't that be a great one!) Trying not to make money the issue but having two kids in college next year is weighing in heavily. However, turning down the job in the UAE is certainly a statement that it's not about money!!!!! So here we go!!!!

John said to me yesterday...."you're just along for the ride, aren't you? You'll go anywhere I go and be happy." I retorted, "just not to Osan, Korea."


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